ASG’s Sophie Priest
North Somerset’s largest marketing agency ASG (The Ascot Group) will be exhibiting at the North Somerset Business Show. Our experienced team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding direct and digital marketing, PR and branding. But in the meantime here is our top-ten marketing hints and tips to help you grow your business.
1. Be Consistent
Brand recognition, reputation (and ultimately new customers) comes through repetition and association. It doesn’t matter if you are selling “The Ultimate Driving Machine” or “Finger Lickin’ Good” chicken. Placing the odd ill-conceived last-minute press advert or a poorly constructed direct mail letter will not help your business! Developing a strategic marketing plan will ensure you leap-frog your competitors and create real growth.
2. Develop your USP’s
Every business needs Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s). If you can’t decide what sets your business apart from your competitors then why should any customers buy from you? Great service, quality products and reliable deliveries are not USP’s because your competitors are saying the same thing.
USP’s can take many forms – products, service levels, support package, ordering or delivery process, in fact anything that distinguishes your business from your competitors.
3. Create IMPACT!
It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, unless your message (the creative design, headlines and copywriting) really catches the attention of your customer you are wasting your time (and money).
Create a theme that is consistent and recognisable. The most memorable promotions are those that capture the imagination – Marks & Spencer is a good recent example of this (“this isn’t just food, this is M & S food”) and Guinness built a global business through it.
Third-party credibility is a powerful way to establish your business, and PR is the ideal way to achieve this. Regular, interesting stories will reinforce your brand image and awareness in a way advertising or direct mail cannot.
A steady stream of press releases, articles and features, and opinion pieces will catapult your reputation. Consider using both printed matter and online channels. If you don’t have the time to build on-going relationships with the journalists and editors or don’t have the time or resources to produce good PR stories each month, it is worth investing in an experienced PR agency.
As well as attracting potential new customers, advertising gives confidence to your existing customers and lets your competitors know you mean business. But the occasional ad-hoc, poorly designed advert is not the answer and won’t produce results – think about your sales message, invest in good creative/design, and commit to a 3, 6 or 12 month campaign to create repetition and credibility. Press advertising is great but also look for opportunities online – take time to find online news sites that are relevant to your business and place a well-designed advert or online banner.
6. Direct Mail
There is no more powerful tool for generating enquiries than direct mail. However, like advertising, direct mail works best through repetition and enquiries can often filter through weeks after the mailing has arrived. Effective direct mail can produce a very high response rate – the key is using quality, customer-specific data, high impact design/creative, and personalisation (avoid stuck-on mailing labels as this can be the kiss of death to direct mail).
Of course mail-merging and printing thousands of sales letters, designing leaflets/flyers and stuffing envelopes can be a tedious and time consuming job, but you can always outsource your direct mail to a database/direct marketing company who specialise in the Window Industry.
7. Email Marketing
Email Marketing is a low-cost way of making instant contact with prospects or existing customers. But with 150 billion spam emails sent every day, you need to think carefully about your email strategy. Spam filters, junk folders and the sheer volume of emails we receive means your email campaign can easily get overlooked.
With email you only have a spilt second to generate interest so you need to make sure your message is short, sharp and high-impact. And remember, email data degrades at 5% to 10% per month, so it’s vital you keep your email list up-to-date.
It cannot be emphasised enough how important your website is and how essential it is to keep it updated regularly. This “shop window” is how you will be judged by potential customers and its so easy to loose potential customers because of a poor website – and you will never know about those potential customers! When was the last time you looked at your website – from a potential customers’ point of view?
Always use a database to record, manage and update prospects and customers. Just because a prospect says “no” today, doesn’t mean they will say no in six months. So record their details and stay in touch with them. New technology means sales and marketing people can easily manage databases from home or office with little or no I.T or database experience.
10. Social Media
More and more businesses are using social media to get in front of their target audience and the window industry is no exception. Unlike traditional marketing, social media is a two-way conversation between you and your customers, meaning you shouldn’t treat your social media accounts as a way to bombard your followers with countless adverts and plugs about your business. Engage with people. Get involved and connect with your customers. It will make you appear open, transparent and friendly.
The Ascot Group is the regions largest marketing group and employs more than 20 full-time staff and has worked with clients across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the United States. Helping them successfully implement all the above points to grow their business. To find out how the Ascot Group can help you, contact Marketing Services Manager Sophie Priest on: 01934 428 771 or visit: http://www.ascotgroup.co.uk